This video recipe is my fairly weak attempt at the famous Vietnamese spicy beef noodle soup, Pho. As I shopped for the ingredients, I had a nice package of beef oxtail in my hand, but since I was just making a small batch, and I already had two beautiful beef shanks in the basket, I decided to not get them. That was a mistake.
While this beef noodle soup wasn't bad, it wasn't spectacularly great which is what Pho should be. The signature of this soup is a very rich, deeply flavored, collagen-infused beef broth. I overestimated the beef shanks, and it was lacking exactly what the oxtails would have added.
Also, to add to this Pho's fauxness, I went pretty light on the spices. Real Pho has more of the aromatic spices you'll see in the video. I also didn’t add the extra sliced beef that is traditional, like brisket, flank, and thinly sliced, rare filet mignon. I also didn’t char the ginger, which is recommended. I also didn't pronouce Pho correctly - I say, "Pho," when it's actually more like, "Fuh." Despite all this, I still had a pretty nice beef soup, but it really made me crave a real Pho.
Don’t get me wrong, I encourage you to make this recipe - the technique you'll see is fairly accurate, but I advise you to add a couple pounds of oxtails, and maybe twice the spices. Also, for homework, find the nearest Vietnamese restaurant and order a bowl of Pho so you can see what we are trying to do here. Enjoy!
Ingredients: (these are not what I used in the video, but what I wish I did):
2 beef shanks, and 2 lbs oxtails
1 tbsp oil
2 whole cloves
6 clove garlic
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp whole coriander
1 cardamom pod
6 whole star anise
6-inch piece ginger sliced, (browned with the beef)
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp fish sauce
3 quarts water (some will evaporate, you'll have about 2 quarts strained)
In the bowl:
rice noodles, prepped
sambal chili sauce
fresh lime wedges
fresh herbs - basil, mint and/or cilantro
optional: thinly sliced raw beef tenderloin
Some of my favorite soup video recipes:
Bumblebee Soup - A Hearty Bacon, Black Bean and Corn Chowder
French Onion Soup
Spicy Sausage and Kale Soup
Brodo di Manzo with Tortellini and Greens
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